Friday, December 2, 2022

NASA’s 1977 Voyager Golden Record Receiving First Release for Human Ears

Call it the most exclusive alien mixtape. About 39 years ago NASA sent out the Voyager I and Voyager II, meant to travel through the far reaches of interstellar space. On board these spacecraft was a document that contained various aural representations of human civilization and Earth, including greetings in various languages, sounds of nature, and human music from multiple cultures. They called it the Voyager Golden Record.

But for human hands, it’s a musical artifact as rare as they come. Only 12 known copies are in existence. Two of those reside aboard the Voyager spacecraft. Then-President Jimmy Carter received one, but the others were scattered amongst NASA and other institutions. The genius who spearheaded the project, Carl Sagan, didn’t even receive one.

But now thanks Boing Boing editor and Institute For The Future research director David Pescovitz, human ears may finally get the chance to hear what we sent to extraterrestrial lifeforms.

The Kickstarter project (that’s already fully funded!) sees Pescovitz teaming with Amoeba Music manager Timothy Daly and graphic designer Lawrence Azerrad to release the Voyager Golden Record. Unlike the original gold-plated copper disks meant to withstand a billion years of space travel, the pressing will be on gold vinyl. The 3xLP remastered set will cost $98 plus shipping and will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Voyager launch.

You can participate in the Kickstarter here and check out a full tracklisting below.

Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition audio tracks:

  • Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor
  • Java, court gamelan, “Kinds of Flowers,” recorded by Robert Brown
  • Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle
  • Zaire, Pygmy girls’ initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull
  • Australia, Aborigine songs, “Morning Star” and “Devil Bird,” recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes
  • Mexico, “El Cascabel,” performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México
  • “Johnny B. Goode,” written and performed by Chuck Berry
  • New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan
  • Japan, Shakuhachi, “Tsuru No Sugomori” (“Crane’s Nest,”) performed by Goro Yamaguch
  • Bach, “Gavotte en rondeaux” from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin, performed by Arthur Grumiaux
  • Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor
  • Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo,” collected by Radio Moscow
  • Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima
  • “Melancholy Blues,” performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven
  • Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow
  • Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor
  • Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1. Glenn Gould, piano
  • Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor
  • Bulgaria, “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” sung by Valya Balkanska
  • Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes
  • Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, “The Fairie Round,” performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London
  • Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service
  • Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen
  • China, ch’in, “Flowing Streams,” performed by Kuan P’ing-hu
  • India, raga, “Jaat Kahan Ho,” sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar
  • “Dark Was the Night,” written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson
  • Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet
  • Greetings from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim
  • Greetings in 55 languages
  • United Nations greetings
  • Whale greetings
  • The Sounds of Earth: “Music of the Spheres” by Laurie Spiegel, Volcanoes, Earthquake, Thunder, Mud Pots, Wind, Rain, Surf, Crickets, Frogs, Birds, Hyena, Elephant, Chimpanzee, Wild Dog, Footstepts, Heartbeat, Laughter, Fire, Speech, The First Tools, Tame Dog, Herding Sheep, Blacksmith, Sawing, Tractor, Riveter, Morse Code, Ships, Horse and Cart, Train, Tractor, Bus, Auto, F-111 Flyby, Saturn 5 Lift-off, Kiss, Mother and Child, Life Signs, Pulsar

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